When the housing market gets too competitive, people start looking for other options. Some stick to renting, others consider condo’s or townhomes, and others move to less competitive markets. Another option is to build your own home. Many people question the expense of building, but with a shortage of housing, building can be a way to get a house that is less competitive. A new build also allows you to customize a home the way you want it. There are a lot of questions about building though. What questions should you ask a contractor before building?
How long have you been in the business?
Knowing how long a contractor has been in the business can you give you a good idea of who is working for you. You might be looking for someone who has a lot of experience with the ups and downs of contracting. On the other hand, you may want to work with a contractor who is younger but might have different ideas or fewer projects so they will be able to work harder for you.
Do you have a contracting license?
Asking a contractor if they have a license might seem like an obvious thing, but a licensed contractor should do a better and more thorough job. Having a license ensures that they have gone through proper training to become licensed. It should also hold them to a certain standard, as the agency the gives them a license will have specific guidelines to follow. If a contractor doesn’t perform to the rules of the license, it could be revoked and cause a loss of business or money.
What is your payment schedule?
Buying a home is expensive, so as a homeowner, you want the knowledge of how much and when you will be paying for the contract work. Because of the nature of building, the process will take time. A customer should never have to pay the total upfront, and if a contractor asks for it upfront, that might be a red flag.
What steps will you take to protect my property?
You should be able to ask your contractor what they will do to protect your property. Proper protection of your property is essential. In the end, it is your house, and you will be paying for it. If you need a contractor to do certain steps to protect your property, let them know. If it isn’t something they can or will do, you can look for another contractor who will ensure the proper protection for your project.
How will additional charges be communicated?
Every project should have some clearly defined estimates. In a remodel, additional things will always come up, whether it is unsafe wiring, floor warping, or materials costing more than anticipated. You should be able to get clear communication on how much and why additional costs are coming up.
How do we resolve any disagreements?
Disagreements will probably happen in the process of your construction project. You should be upfront with your contractor and ask them what they will do to resolve any of your disagreements. If they can give you examples of how they have worked with others in the past, you will get a better understanding of how they work with people. If they were able to work through problems with other clients, you should feel confident that they will be able to handle issues that arise in your project. Make sure you are comfortable with them, and if you have a good experience, make sure to recommend them to your family and friends.
The more you know about your contractor and how they work, the smoother the experience should be for you.